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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Blonde Ukrainian nurses, bare naked Muslims and Trig Palin educates Wonkette — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Bonus: Ezra Klein goes back to school and gets spanked.

We’re Taking Back the Playing Field

April 29th, 2011 - 4:20 pm

The Unofficial VodkaPundit Conspiracy Nut Policy™ is a simple one. Truthers will be banned, birthers will be mocked. And now… “racers” will be engaged relentlessly.

Click that link, because I think my friend Tony Katz has changed the terms of the debate.

How to Lose Customers and Infuriate Users

April 29th, 2011 - 3:22 pm

Please tell me this Android …thing… is a hoax.

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Hat tip, Gruber, who calls it “hell on Earth.”

Maybe I’ll Wait for the DVD

April 29th, 2011 - 2:05 pm

Poliwood watches Atlas Shrugged.

Bob Schieffer Is a Doddering Old Man

April 29th, 2011 - 12:30 pm

I can’t prove that, of course — any more than Schieffer can prove The Donald™ is a racist.

Then again, I do watch Face the Nation and have seen Schieffer ramble on about diabolical robots and become totally flummoxed by the idea of reducing tax rates while closing loopholes to maintain revenues. So at least I have some evidence for my assertion.

What does Bob have for his?

Filed Under F for “Filed”

April 29th, 2011 - 11:22 am

Looks like we’re in the manned space launch business for an extra couple days:

NASA officials on Friday scrubbed the planned launch of the Shuttle Endeavour for at least 48 hours after crews identified a problem with the heaters associated with the shuttle’s auxiliary power unit.

No biggie, I just wanted to post this in order to have an excuse to ask WaPo why this is a “lifestyle” story.

Is Pennsylvania the keystone to President Obama’s reelection? That’s what Tom Bevan argues this morning:

If you’re looking for ways to boil the 2012 Presidential race down to its simplest form, here’s one of the easiest: it’s nearly impossible to envision any way Barack Obama can win re-election next year if he loses Pennsylvania. No Keystone State, no second term. It really is that simple.

As of right now, things are looking dicey for the President in Pennsylvania. Two weeks ago, the Democratic polling firm PPP released a survey showing the President’s job approval rating at just 42% among Pennsylvania voters.

Yesterday, Quinnipiac University confirmed PPP’s findings with a survey of their own conducted in Pennsylvania last week showing an identical job rating of 42% for the President – a new low for Obama since taking office.

Worse still for the President, for the first time the Quinnipiac poll found a majority of Pennsylvania voters saying that Obama does not deserve to be re-elected.

I thought immediately of the email Glenn Reynolds published yesterday from a reader in PA. Key bit:

It began a week or so ago at Sams’ Club:

I was in one of THOSE lines and ended up chatting with a well dressed middle aged woman with a cart half full of grocery items.

I made mention of the fact that while I didn’t normally make the hike to Sams’ that with prices going up I figured I had to make the effort.

She exploded: Prices are sky high, she’s feeding three kids, eating store brands and sale items but can’t afford to stock up, on and on.

Then the lady in front of HER piped in: if prices keep going up she doesn’t know what she’ll do, their budget is already at the breaking point, trying to keep a daughter in college, off she goes.

Then a man in the next line over heard them and HE jumped in: this is ridiculous, Washington is killing us, economy broken, he’s off to the races.

1996 was the “Soccer Mom” election, as Bill Clinton connected with suburban moms on pocketbook issues which Bob Dole just seemed too old and out of touch to understand. 2012 may well be the year of the Sam’s Club Voter — at long last.

It’s Like Another World

April 29th, 2011 - 8:53 am

Here’s how official Washington officially tightens its belt:

Cee Lo Green sings for us. Seth Meyers tells us jokes.Lindsay Lohan’s ex, Samantha Ronson, is our DJ. All the cool kids — Sean Penn, Kate Hudson, Steven Tyler, Paula Abdul, Courteney Cox, David Byrne and Bristol Palin — want to party with us. A Johnnie Walker “cigar tent” furnishes us with scotch and hand-rolled stogies. We are handed Fiji water, or Grey Goose vodka, to slake our thirsts, and Sea Terra Organics Vanilla Body Butters to soothe our pores.

The correspondents’ association dinner was a minor annoyance for years, when it was a “nerd prom” for journalists and a few minor celebrities. But, as with so much else in this town, the event has spun out of control. Now, awash in lobbyist and corporate money, it is another display of Washington’s excesses.

There are now no fewer than 20 parties, plus a similar number of receptions at the Washington Hilton before the dinner. A pre-dinner brunch, once an intimate affair in a TV producer’s backyard, was moved this year to the Georgetown mansion of multimillionaire Mark Ein. Democratic and Republican consultants shell out five figures apiece to join the Café Milano owner as hosts. (Cafe Atlantico’s owner, by contrast, is cooking for the Atlantic’s party.)

Must be nice.

Friday Recipe

April 29th, 2011 - 7:05 am

Not really. I’m still too full from the birthday dinner Melissa made to get adventurous in the kitchen quite yet. But since one reader demanded photographic proof, well — here you go.

We started off with an amuse-bouche of Garlic Basil Savory Cookie with Cherry Tomato Bite.

It’s a Long Way Down

April 28th, 2011 - 1:05 pm

Trifecta: Ceiling is believing — is the Obama administration being truthful about the debt limit?

Duh. No.

But we do have scary-ass charts and a vintage clip of what happened the first time the federal debt hit 92% of GDP, way back in 1943.

As Good As It Gets

April 28th, 2011 - 11:55 am

Over at Hot Air, my buddy Jazz Shaw looks at the latest GDP and unemployment claims figures and says, “supporters of the President’s economic recovery plan need to hope that this is simply a blip on the recovery radar.”

No, Jazz — last year’s big finish was as good as it gets. Fourth Quarter last year, GDP grew at 2.8%, unexpectedly revised down from 3.2%. Either number is OK for a mature recovery, but a far cry from the 5-7% you expect to get coming out of a major downturn. Three percent is just barely enough to produce a few new jobs, even if they aren’t very good ones.

Last quarter’s GDP growth was an anemic 1.8%, and that’s before Washington unexpectedly revises it downwards in a few weeks. Rising gas and food prices won’t be doing any favors for the current quarter. Already, the “stimulus” is over, and Ben Bernanke said yesterday that he’ll stop printing free money on schedule in June.

So. That was the best of the recovery. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

UPDATE: At OTB, Doug Mataconis is thinking very much the same thing.

In the Age of Obama It Sucks to Be Right

April 28th, 2011 - 7:56 am

I’ll give Drudge the last comment on yesterday’s doom & gloom column.

Trifecta: It’s another members only grab bag, where we take on Rachel Maddow’s dam stupid new promos, recycled girlfriends and much more.

One Step Back from the Abyss

April 27th, 2011 - 11:53 am

Ben Bernanke — in a first-ever Fed press conference — says that QE2 will end on schedule in June. I have never been quite so happy to be wrong, as I thought there was a better-than-even chance of the Fed launching QE3 this summer. We might even see some relief from rising prices on oil, gold, and other commodities.

That’s the good news. The bad news is, what might happen to the Dow now that the days of easy money are half-over.

That Didn’t Take Long

April 27th, 2011 - 11:47 am

Apple: Fix coming for iOS tracking bug.

Amendments 28-31 or So

April 27th, 2011 - 11:14 am

Trifecta: It’s an old-school bull-session as Bill Whittle challenges us with some common-sense Constitutional solutions to our very modern problems.

Crappy Days Are Here Again

April 27th, 2011 - 9:30 am

Jeffrey Lord says Obama is toast — because of the price of bread. Key bit:

WHAT SEEMS TO HAVE LEFT Obama strategists clueless is the fundamental historical fact that inflation comes slowly. Milk today, celery tomorrow, and gas almost every day. Then, too late, there’s a collective gasp of recognition by Americans walking around the grocery store that it’s no longer just the milk and the celery but the soup, the chicken, the hamburger and perhaps now critically — the Excedrin. Don’t forget the rent, either. The shock of realization dawns that somehow the patient — America — is suddenly in dire economic health and the only way out is a brutally painful form of political surgery.

Lord makes many comparisons between today and 1979, and they’re all apt — especially regarding the two men occupying the Oval Office then and now, and their economic policies.

But let us look ahead a little further.

Ronald Reagan came into office in January, 1981, on a mission to get the economy moving again. The first step was — the first step had to be — to choke off inflation. And in cahoots with Fed Chair Paul Volcker, that’s exactly what he did. Their recipe was simple: Tight money, high interest rates.

Please note that since the mid ’90s, the Fed has gone with low interest rates and easy money — and look at where we are today. Let’s be a bit nicer to Alan Greenspan. While the Maestro had an easy money policy, his successor Ben Bernanke has pursued a policy of absolutely slutty money.

“Slutty money.” There’s your water cooler phrase for the week of 4/25/2011.

Anyway.

Here’s the first problem the next administration faces trying to tame inflation.

In 1980, the deficit was just $74 billion — or $154 billion in 2005 dollars. That’s one-fifth the size of this year’s deficit. Per capita, it’s four times bigger.

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First Blood

April 27th, 2011 - 7:59 am

Trump is claiming credit for the release of Obama’s “long form” birth certificate — and he’s right. Three years of birtherism, and nada. A few weeks of Trump, and results.

This is not an endorsement of Trump, but give the man credit. He is the first to draw blood on the President in the lead-up to 2012 — and he’s shown the way for others.

Birthdays Suck; Birthday Dinners Do Not

April 26th, 2011 - 4:30 pm

Melissa just handed me tonight’s menu, and it looks something like so:

Amuse Bouche
Garlic Basil Savory Cookie + Cherry Tomato Bite

Charcuterie Plate
Crespone & Secchi Salamis + Pork Rillette Toast + Artisanal Smoked Bacon

Seafood Plate
Salmon Rillettes + Shrimp Scampi + Tuna Carpaccio

Duck Trio
Duck Fat & Smoked Duck Breast Mini Pizza + Duck Pate on toast point +Smoked Duck Bacon

Venison Tenderloin Flight
Tartare + Carpaccio + Juniper Spiced

Cheese Plate
Crispy Parmigiano Reggiano Flatbread + Parmiggiano Reggiano Panna Cotta w Thyme with a Plum and Grappa Sauce + Parmiggiano Reggiano Ice Cream w Balsamic Drizzle

Finale
Fresh Berries with Lemon Zabaglione

Needless to say, I’m done blogging for the evening.

Goodfellas Come to Mountain View

April 26th, 2011 - 2:36 pm

Adobe to digital publishers: “F— you, pay me.”

Adobe practically invented desktop publishing, and now they’re set to destroy it with outrageous fees for InDesign:

That equates to £7003 per year as a minimum spend — irrespective of how many copies you sell, or how regularly you publish — and that’s on top of the one-off charge for the new 5.5 version of InDesign: £94 as an individual upgrade from CS5, £238 for a suite upgrade from CS5, and considerably more if, like me, you’re upgrading from CS4: £190 for InDesign on its own and £619 for the whole suite. Brand new, InDesign CS5.5 costs £714 and the suite costs £1810. That’s what you’ll be paying to Adobe.

The prices listed are in British pounds, so just multiply by two to find out what Adobe will charge Americans. Outrageous.

Pay Attention

April 26th, 2011 - 2:13 pm

Obama: Birth certificate talk is a “distraction.” Other distractions include social media, iPads, Jeremiah Wright, the Iraq War, gay marriage, budget extensions, and Lila Rose.

This list is not meant to be comprehensive, just what I found on two pages of Google results.

Sony demoed its first two entries in the tablet market, the S1 and S2.The S1 is a fairly standard tablet, albeit wedge-shaped instead of flat and the S2 is this weird split-screen thing that folds up into something which looks small enough to fit uncomfortably into a suit jacket pocket.

Standard Tegra 2 processor, standard Android 3.0, compatibility with a few “select” PlayStation games. Other details and specs are “subject to change.” So the only question remaining is: Why can’t Sony get these things to market before the autumn?

UPDATE: B&N’s Nook color ereader has been firmware-upgrded into a tiny Android 2.2 tablet – for $250. They seem to have very nicely settled into the low end of the tablet market, and I suspect they’re sell a lot of these.

Is It Last Call Already?

April 26th, 2011 - 12:13 pm

Trifecta: Building on my PJM column, Bill Whittle and Scott Ott share their thoughts on the end of the American Century.

At the Movies

April 26th, 2011 - 7:45 am

Ed Driscoll: Atlas Shrugged is “the finest movie about the railroad industry since Silver Streak.” Hey — Silver Streak is a classic, as far as I’m concerned.

Actually, Ed’s written a kind-yet-honest review of the movie, and based on his comments, I’m going to set aside my reservations and see it this weekend.

We’re Number Two!

April 25th, 2011 - 4:41 pm

I have a new column up at the PJM home page, looking at that IMF report that China will surpass the US economy as soon as 2016. What’s their secret, and did we forget ours?

Hair of the Dog: It’s a very special episode as we focus on the stupidest questions asked all weekend by David Gregory, Christiane Amanpour, Bob Schieffer and Chris Wallace.

Worth Less Than You Save

April 25th, 2011 - 2:43 pm

I saw that $114 ad-supported Kindle over the weekend, and couldn’t decide what to make of it.

If Amazon really is trying to get Kindles into as many hands as possible, then a $25 savings on a $139 product seems too little. But the other question I have is: Is $25 the most Amazon can get in ad revenue for a device people will stare at for 15-60 minutes a day, for one or two years?

That seems undervalued to me.

Required Viewing

April 25th, 2011 - 2:04 pm

Bill Whittle. New Firewall. Click and enjoy.

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Gross Incompetence in Kandahar

April 25th, 2011 - 1:58 pm

Underreported item of the day:

Toryalai Wesa, Governor of Kandahar told TOLOnews that 476 prisoners have escaped from jail today and some of them have been recaptured by Afghan forces in the province.

Mr Wesa added that all the escapees were political prisoners except one.

“The enemy dug a tunnel from a house to the jail and at 04:30 early today we heard that some prisoners had escaped,” Mr Wesa said.

Meanwhile, the acting police chief of Kandahar, Sher Shah Yousufzai, also confirmed the escape and said last night some political prisoners broke out of the prison.

I doubt it’s a surprise to anyone that Karzai holds so many political prisoners. Although there is some confusion as to why we continue to put so much stock in him.

Required Reading

April 25th, 2011 - 1:16 pm

Will Collier put two and two together and the result will surprise you with its wrath.